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INTEGRATED ACTION


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Paramount has been having some problems with the STAR TREK reboots - fans don't seem to like them. Despite being directed by FAST & FURIOUS's Justin Lin, the last film only made $159m domestic on a budget of $185m (or maybe more). Is the franchise doomed? Where and when did it go wrong?

One of the first scenes in STAR TREK:NEMESIS has Captain Picard, Data and (I think) Worf are scooting around this desert planet in a dune buggy collecting pieces of an android that has been cut up and scattered across the wasteland (um, did anyone wonder WHY?) when a trio of dune buggies appear on the horizon. They grab the android's head, toss it in the back of the dune buggy and take off. The three other dune buggies give chase. Picard drives his dune buggy like a mad man as they exchange machine gun fire with the three dune buggies. It's a huge action scene, right out of ROAD WARRIOR. Eventually a couple of the dune buggies crash (alien lives may have been lost) and the last dune buggy chases them into an amazing stunt sequence where they drive off a cliff into the cargo bay of their landing craft and fly out of there.

It was never explained who the aliens were in the three dune buggies, why they were chasing Picard and why they thought exchanging gunfire was the proper way to greet a Federation landing party. The action scene didn't really serve any purpose at all - except create an excuse for the CGI created stunt... and open the film with a bang. We always want to hit the ground running with our screenplays, but it is more important to *involve* the reader/viewer than just excite them. If you start with an action scene, make sure it has some emotional component as well - to pull us into the story and make us want to keep watching (reading).

If anyone ever decides to circulate a petition demanding more characterization and drama in action films you can bet I'll be the first person to sign it. The reason why I fell in love with the Hong Kong films of John Woo is that they managed to explore character like no other testosterone films had been able to do since we lost Sam Peckinpah in 1978 (he continued making movies after that, but he was completely lost except for CROSS OF IRON). Woo's best films, like BULLET IN THE HEAD and A BETTER TOMORROW and THE KILLER, are all about the characters. They are relationship movies. The action sequences place the characters in kill-or-be-killed situations and force drama to the surface. When Woo came to America his films went down hill - the action is still there but not the character. FACE/OFF was a step in the right direction and WINDTALKERS looked promising but ended up being a small drama about Nic Cage partnered with a Navajo who he must protect him with his life... unless they're captured, with a bunch of huge pointless action scenes grafted on. It was everything that's wrong with crapy Hollywood action flicks!

YOU GOT CHARACTER IN MY ACTION!

Even though I'm for more character in action films, there's a right way to add it and a wrong way. Imagine an action film that opens with 80 minutes of character scenes, then has a solid 40 minutes of non-stop action. You probably see the problem already - the character scenes are separate from the action scenes. It's like there are two different movies glued together! From the 80 minutes of serious character drama we'd never guess that the next 40 minutes will be wall-to-wall action. The action seems out of place... or the character seems out of place. Neither part matches the other.

We not only want to create a balance between action and character, we want to use action to EXPLORE character. We want the action scenes to be ABOUT character - to demonstrate character through actions and reactions to events.

And to make things worse those 40 minutes are "character free" action - just lots of big explosions. In fact, our lead characters aren't even involved in the action!

Buy The DVD! Millions of flies can't be wrong!

The first 80 minutes of the PEARL HARBOR set up our two pilot- heroes who are best friends and the romantic triangle with a pretty nurse. There's the friendship between Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett). Danny's drunk dad - scared by The Great War. There's the romance between Rafe and Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale) which includes a whole lotta revolving doors and the Queen Mary. When Rafe is assigned to the Eagle Squadron in England there's a lot of letter writing and reading at sunset... then a plot twist throws Evelyn into Danny's arms. A whole new relationship starts and must be shown one painstakingly detailed step at a time. Eventually Rafe returns, and we have a love triangle - best friends in love with the same woman... oh, yeah, and she's pregnant by one of them. More overly-dramatic stuff which ends with a big fistfight between Rafe and Danny that brings the MPs, so the two escape in a car together and sleep off their drunk under the stars...

Waking to find Pearl Harbor under attack and that 40 minutes of action kicking in.

But our heroes aren't involved in the action at all. The SHIPS in the harbor are bombed - huge action scenes that are completely uninvolving because neither Rafe nor Danny are on the ships or know anyone on the ships. This is the centerpiece of the 40 minutes of action and our two leads aren't even on hand! They have no stake in the outcome, and all of the guys who get blown to pieces on the ships or fight valiantly only to die are total strangers to our leads AND the audience.

Rafe and Danny race to the airfield... arriving in time to see every plane get blown to smithereens. But they are observers in this scene, not really participants.

Finally they get to the repair yard and grab a couple of planes for a short action sequence actually involving the heroes... but by then it's too late!

In a really weird move to make them look like they're involved in a story that has nothing to do with them, Danny and Rafe are pasted into a scene where they try to rescue crew members of the Arizona who are trapped on the sinking ship. But the men on the Arizona are strangers to us - non characters. The most dramatic incident in the entire Pearl Harbor attack, and it happens to a bunch of people we've never seen before and don't care about!

So how could we have made that big scene work? How could have have integrated character into the action?

There's a scene where Danny and the pilots toast absent-friend Rafe in private... what if that scene had taken place in the Hula Bar? What if a drunken Danny had gotten in a fight with some sailor from the Arizona? Some sailor much bigger than Danny. So Danny ends up using a bar stool as a shield, eventually pinning the sailor to the floor with the legs and sitting on the stool to hold the sailor in place. Danny tells the sailor, "If I ever see you again, you're dead. Understand?" When the sailor finally says he understands Danny lets him go.

After the attack the Arizona is sinking with men trapped on board and Danny tries to rescue them. Guess which sailor is trapped in the section Danny is working on? Trapped the same way Danny had him trapped under the barstool. Pleading for Danny to help him. Danny does everything possible - he knows this guy - WE know this guy. He's not just some faceless sailor, he's a CHARACTER. Danny has a STAKE in rescuing him... When Danny fails to rescue the sailor, the words from the bar haunt him: "If I ever see you again, you're dead." Danny hasn't just failed to rescue the trapped sailor, he may be responsible for his death. He FEELS responsible for his death. The sailor's death effects Danny - adding character to the action.

A better method would have been to chose characters who are actually involved in the story, so that the action scenes are also character scenes.

Find a way to integrate character into your action scenes - to make the actions demonstrate character. Action scenes ARE character scenes... except in duds like STAR TREK: NEMESIS, PEARL HARBOR, TRANSFORMERS and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3.... and the first two STAR TREK reboot's action scenes were as "character free" as MI:3s. If you can cut out the action scene and it doesn't impact the story... you *should* cut out the action scene!


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LEARN SUSPENSE FROM THE MASTER!

*** HITCHCOCK: MASTERING SUSPENSE *** - For Kindle!

Alfred Hitchcock, who directed 52 movies, was known as the *Master Of Suspense*; but what exactly is suspense and how can *we* master it? How does suspense work? How can *we* create “Hitchcockian” suspense scenes in our screenplays, novels, stories and films?

This book uses seventeen of Hitchcock’s films to show the difference between suspense and surprise, how to use “focus objects” to create suspense, the 20 iconic suspense scenes and situations, how plot twists work, using secrets for suspense, how to use Dread (the cousin of suspense) in horror stories, and dozens of other amazing storytelling lessons. From classics like “Strangers On A Train” and “The Birds” and “Vertigo” and “To Catch A Thief” to older films from the British period like “The 39 Steps” and “The Man Who Knew Too Much” to his hits from the silent era like “The Lodger” (about Jack The Ripper), we’ll look at all of the techniques to create suspense!

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BRAND NEW!

*** THE BOURNE MOVIES

All five "Bourne" movies (including "Legacy" and it's potential sequels) - what are the techniques used to keep the characters and scenes exciting and involving? Reinventing the thriller genre... or following the "formula"? Five films - each with an interesting experiment! A detailed analysis of each of the films, the way these thrillers work... as well as a complete list of box office and critical statistics for each film. This book is great for writers, directors, and just fans of the series.

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Over 400 Pages!

*** BREAKING IN BLUE BOOK *** - For Kindle!


Should really be called the BUSINESS BLUE BOOK because it covers almost everything you will need to know for your screenwriting career: from thinking like a producer and learning to speak their language, to query letters and finding a manager or agent, to making connections (at home and in Hollywood) and networking, to the different kinds of meetings you are will have at Studios, to the difference between a producer and a studio, to landing an assignment at that meeting and what is required of you when you are working under contract, to contracts and options and lawyers and... when to run from a deal! Information you can use *now* to move your career forward! It's all here in the Biggest Blue Book yet!

Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 400 pages!

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Strange Structures!

*** HITCHCOCK: EXPERIMENTS IN TERROR! *** - For Kindle!

***

Contained Thrillers like "Buried"? Serial Protagonists like "Place Beyond The Pines"? Multiple Connecting Stories like "Pulp Fiction"? Same Story Multiple Times like "Run, Lola, Run"?
HITCHCOCK DID IT FIRST!

This book focuses on 18 of Hitchcock's 52 films with wild cinema and story experiments which paved the way for modern films. Almost one hundred different experiments that you may think are recent cinema or story inventions... but some date back to Hitchcock's *silent* films! We'll examine these experiments and how they work. Great for film makers, screenwriters, film fans, producers and directors.

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GOT IDEAS?

*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Kindle!

*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to find great ideas! Your screenplay is going to begin with an idea. There are good ideas and bad ideas and commercial ideas and personal ideas. But where do you find ideas in the first place? This handbook explores different methods for finding or generating ideas, and combining those ideas into concepts that sell. The Idea Bank, Fifteen Places To Find Ideas, Good Ideas And Bad Ideas, Ideas From Locations And Elements, Keeping Track Of Your Ideas, Idea Theft - What Can You Do? Weird Ways To Connect Ideas, Combing Ideas To Create Concepts, High Concepts - What Are They? Creating The Killer Concept, Substitution - Lion Tamers & Hitmen, Creating Blockbuster Concepts, Magnification And The Matrix, Conflict Within Concept, Concepts With Visual Conflict, Avoiding Episodic Concepts, much more! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 175 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


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BRAND NEW!

*** HOOK 'EM IN TEN *** - For Kindle!


Your story doesn't get a second chance to make a great first impression, and this book shows you a bunch of techniques on how to do that. From the 12 Basic Ways To Begin Your Story, to the 3 Stars Of Your First Scene (at least one must be present) to World Building, Title Crawls, Backstory, Starting Late, Teasers and Pre Title Sequences, Establishing Theme & Motifs (using GODFATHER PART 2), Five Critical Elements, Setting Up The Rest Of The Story (with GODFATHER), and much more! With hundreds of examples ranging from Oscar winners to classic films like CASABLANCA to some of my produced films (because I know exactly why I wrote the scripts that way). Biggest Blue Book yet! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 100,000 words - 312 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


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WHAT IS A SCENE?

*** SCENE SECRETS *** - For Kindle!

***

What is a scene and how many you will need? The difference between scenes and sluglines. Put your scenes on trial for their lives! Using "Jaws" we'll look at beats within a scene. Scene DNA. Creating set pieces and high concept scenes. A famous director talks about creating memorable scenes. 12 ways to create new scenes. Creating unexpected scenes. Use dramatic tension to supercharge your scenes. Plants and payoffs in scenes. Plus transitions and buttons and the all important "flow"... and more! Over 65,000 words! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 210 pages!

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DO YOU WRITE PICTURES?

*** VISUAL STORYTELLING *** - For Kindle! (exclusive)


Show Don't Tell - but *how* do you do that? Here are techniques to tell stories visually! Using Oscar Winning Films and Oscar Nominated Films as our primary examples: from the first Best Picture Winner "Sunrise" (1927) to the Oscar Nominated "The Artist" (which takes place in 1927) with stops along the way Pixar's "Up" and Best Original Screenplay Winner "Breaking Away" (a small indie style drama - told visually) as well as "Witness" and other Oscar Winners as examples... plus RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 200 pages!

Oscar Sale: $2.99 - and no postage!


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Over 240 pages!

*** THE TERMINATOR MOVIES *** - For Kindle!


He's back! The release of "Terminator: Genisys" (now on BluRay) is set to begin a new trilogy in the Terminator story... 31 years after the first film was released. What draws us to these films about a cybernetic organism from the future sent back in time? Why is there a new proposed trilogy every few years? This book looks at all five Terminator movies from a story standpoint - what makes them work (or not)? What are the techniques used to keep the characters and scenes exciting and involving? How about those secret story details you may not have noticed? Containing a detailed analysis of each of the five films so far, this book delves into the way these stories work... as well as a complete list of box office and critical statistics for each film. This book is great for writers, directors, and just fans of the series.

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


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GREAT SUPPORTING CHARACTERS!

*** SUPPORTING CHARACTER SECRETS *** - For Kindle! (Exclusive)


Expanded version with more techniques to flesh out your Supporting Characters and make them individuals. Using the hit movie BRIDESMAIDS as well as other comedies like THE HANGOVER and TED and HIGH FIDELITY and 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and many other examples we look at ways to make your Supporting Characters come alive on the page. Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 170 pages!

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NEW BUT OLD!

*** VINTAGE #1: HOW TO WRITE PHOTOPLAYS *** - For Kindle!

***

Screenwriting books have been around as long as films have. This series reprints vintage screenwriting books with a new introduction and history, plus new articles which look at how these lessons from almost 100 years ago apply to today’s screenplays. Anita Loos book is filled with information which still applies. In addition to the full text of the original book, you get the full screenplay to Miss Loos' hit THE LOVE EXPERT, plus several new articles on the time period and women in Hollywood.

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MAKES A GREAT GIFT!

*** THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING *** - For Kindle!

*** THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING *** - For Nook!

Why pay $510 for a used version of the 240 page 2000 version that used to retail for $21.95? (check it out!) when you can get the NEW EXPANDED VERSION - over 500 pages - for just $9.99? New chapters, New examples, New techniques!

"SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING is the best book on the practical nuts-and-bolts mechanics of writing a screenplay I've ever read." - Ted Elliott, co-writer of MASK OF ZORRO, SHREK, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and the sequels (with Terry Rossio). (ie; 4 of the top 20 Box Office Hits Of ALL TIME.)

Only $9.99 - and no postage!


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HOW YOU TELL IT

*** STORY: WELL TOLD *** - For Kindle!


This book takes you step-by-step through the construction of a story... and how to tell a story well, why Story always starts with character... but ISN'T character, Breaking Your Story, Irony, Planting Information, Evolving Story, Leaving No Dramatic Stone Unturned, The Three Greek Unities, The Importance Of Stakes, The Thematic Method, and how to create personal stories with blockbuster potential. Ready to tell a story? Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 85,000 words - 251 pages!

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STUCK IN THE MIDDLE?

*** ACT TWO SECRETS *** - For Kindle!


Expanded version with more techniques to help you through the desert of Act Two! Subjects Include: What Is Act Two? Inside Moves, The 2 Ps: Purpose & Pacing, The 4Ds: Dilemma, Denial, Drama and Decision, Momentum, the Two Act Twos, Subplot Prisms, Deadlines, Drive, Levels Of Conflict, Escalation, When Act Two Begins and When Act Two Ends, Scene Order, Bite Sized Pieces, Common Act Two Issues, Plot Devices For Act Two, and dozens of others. Over 67,000 words (that's well over 200 pages) of tools and techniques to get you through the desert of Act Two alive! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 208 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


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GREAT SUPPORTING CHARACTERS!

*** SUPPORTING CHARACTER SECRETS *** - For Kindle! (Exclusive)


Expanded version with more techniques to flesh out your Supporting Characters and make them individuals. Using the hit movie BRIDESMAIDS as well as other comedies like THE HANGOVER and TED and HIGH FIDELITY and 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and many other examples we look at ways to make your Supporting Characters come alive on the page. Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 170 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!


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THAT STAR PART!

*** CREATING STRONG PROTAGONISTS *** - For Kindle!

*** CREATING STRONG PROTAGONISTS *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting protagonists! A step-by-step guide to creating "take charge" protagonists. Screenplays are about characters in conflict... characters in emotional turmoil... Strong three dimensional protagonists who can find solutions to their problems in 110 pages. But how do you create characters like this? How do you turn words into flesh and blood? Character issues, Knowing Who Is The Boss, Tapping into YOUR fears, The Naked Character, Pulp Friction, Man With A Plan, Character Arcs, Avoiding Cliche People, Deep Characterization, Problem Protagonists, 12 Ways To Create Likable Protagonists (even if they are criminals), Active vs. Reactive, The Third Dimension In Character, Relationships, Ensemble Scripts, and much, much more. Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is once again around 205 pages!

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THEY SOUND DIFFERENT!

*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Kindle!

*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting dialogue! How to remove bad dialogue (and what *is* bad dialogue), First Hand Dialogue, Awful Exposition, Realism, 50 Professional Dialogue Techniques you can use *today*, Subtext, Subtitles, Humor, Sizzling Banter, *Anti-Dialogue*, Speeches, and more. Tools you can use to make your dialogue sizzle! Special sections that use dialogue examples from movies as diverse as "Bringing Up Baby", "Psycho", "Double Indemnity", "Notorious", the Oscar nominated "You Can Count On Me", "His Girl Friday", and many more! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 160 pages!

Only $4.99 - and no postage!



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FINAL DRAFT SOFTWARE

Use your creative energy to focus on the content; let Final Draft take care of the style. Final Draft is the number-one selling application specifically designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics and stage plays. Its ease-of-use and time-saving features have attracted writers for almost two decades positioning Final Draft as the Professional Screenwriters Choice. Final Draft power users include Academy, Emmy and BAFTA award winning writers like Oliver Stone, Tom Hanks, Alan Ball, J.J. Abrams, James Cameron and more. * * * Buy It!

copyright 2017 by William C. Martell


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SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING

bluebook IT'S BACK! SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING
Over 460 pages packed with tips and techniques. How to write a plot twist, the four kinds of suspense (and how to create it), reversals, ten ways to invent new action scenes, secrets and lies, creating the ultimate villain, five kinds of love interests, MORE! CLICK HERE!

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Class CDs CLASSES ON CD! Take a class on CD! GUERRILLA MARKETING - NO AGENT? NO PROBLEM! and WRITING THRILLERS (2 CDs). Full length classes on CD. Now Available: IDEAS & CREATIVITY, WRITING HORROR, WRITING INDIE FILMS, more!
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B MOVIE WORLD
Cult Films, Exploitation, Bikers & Women In Prison, Monster Movies.

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Producing my own scripts, investment possibilities, pipe dreams.

NAKED SCREENWRITING CDs

Naked Class The NAKED SCREENWRITING CLASS ON CD! The 2001 London Class on 8 CDs! Recorded *live* the morning after the Raindance Film Festival wrapped. The two day class on 8CDs, plus a workbook, plus a bonus CD.
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BILL'S CORNER

My nineteen produced films, interviews with me in magazines, several sample scripts, my available scripts list... And MORE!
...............................BILL'S CORNER


Available Scripts

E BOOKS PAGE

bluebook E BOOKS: New Blue Books and Novelettes!
I am expanding all of the Blue Books from around 44 pages of text to around 200 pages! Some are over 250 pages! See what is availabale and what is coming soon!Also, I've been writing Novelletes and there will soon be novels.
E BOOKS: BLUE BOOKS & NOVELLETES

BOOKLETS & PRODUCTS

bluebook FIRST STRIKE BLUE BOOKS
Each Blue Book is 48 pages and focuses on a different aspect of screenwriting. Dialogue. Visual Storytelling. Your First Ten Pages. Act 2 Booster. Protagonists. Great Endings.
Seventeen Blue Books now available!

THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING OUT OF PRINT!